Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly permeating our everyday lives from our voice command ‘smart speakers’ (such as Amazon Echo, Siri and Google Home) to the machine learning based recommendations when online shopping or watching Netflix. As AI becomes increasingly autonomous and accessible, leaders in technology are calling for increased scrutiny and regulatory oversight to ensure society is protected from AI’s implications. Regulatory oversight of AI will need to integrate ethical, moral and legal values in its design process as well as part of the algorithms these systems use. Tech giants are becoming increasingly aware of the need to incorporate ethical principles in the development of AI. Recently, Amazon, Facebook, McKinsey, Google’s DeepMind division, IBM, and Microsoft have founded a new organisation, the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society, to establish best practices in ethical AI.
The Düsseldorf first instance district court decided that the trademark of Ferrari has to be cancelled (Decision as of 2 August 2017 – Case no. 2a O 166/16 – juris). However, the decision in not yet final.
On 4 August 2009, the company Interton sp. z o.o. (“Interton”) applied for the word-figurative trademark “A ADORATION” – goods from class 3 (cosmetics, including eye shadow, lash mascara, lipstick, fluids, makeup foundation, nail polish). The Polish Patent Office granted a protection to the mark (R-235773). Fast forward to 21 June 2017 (and after a number of oppositions and disagreements), the Supreme Administrative Court provided a ruling dismissing the PPO’s decision.
On 22 June 2017, Advocate General Maciej Szpunar presented an opinion in case C-163/16 concerning a trademark registered for the benefit of the well-known fashion designer Christian Louboutin, in the form of the colour red applied to the sole of a shoe.
In 2010, Louboutin obtained a registration of a Benelux trademark submitted for goods from class 25. This covered shoes (except for orthopaedic shoes), while in 2013, the registration was restricted to high-heeled shoes.
On September 29, a jury in California awarded Columbia Sportswear more than US$3.4 million for infringement of its design patent on heat-reflective technology for clothing and outdoor gear. Columbia accused Seirus Innovative Accessories of infringing its utility and design patents for its wavy lining material, which reflects body heat, but allows for breathability and moisture-wicking. This appears to be the first jury verdict on a design patent after the Supreme Court’s decision in Samsung v. Apple.
In newly issued court proceedings, the makers of Toblerone have become the latest confectionary manufacturers to seek to protect the shape of their product via 3D trade mark registrations. Following the recent difficulties Nestlé faced in registering the shape of their Kit-Kat bar, Mondelez have commenced proceedings against Poundland in relation to their newly announced Twin Peaks bar. Twin Peaks bears more than a passing resemblance to a Toblerone, except that each chunk of chocolate features two peaks rather than one.
It’s game, set, match for Adidas when it comes to the protectable trade dress in its iconic Stan Smith tennis shoe. In a dispute between Adidas and Skechers over the “Skecherizing” of the Stan Smith shoe, the District Court for the District of Oregon denied Skechers’ motion for summary judgment finding that Adidas could show it has protectable trade dress in its well-known shoe design because the design was recognizable to consumers and not functional. Adidas America Inc. et al. v. Skechers USA Inc., D. Or (August 3, 2017) (order granting in part and denying in part motion for summary judgment).
On 26 July 2017, the advocate general of the EU Court of Justice issued a very interesting opinion of benefit to the owners of exclusive brands. The dispute the opinion addresses has been going on for many years between the companies Coty German GmbH (“Coty”) – a leading supplier of luxury cosmetic products in Germany – and Parfümerie Akzente GmbH (“Parfümerie Akzente”) – an authorized distributor of those products. It concerns the possibility of a supplier prohibiting authorized entities involved in further selling in a selective distribution system from using unauthorized third companies.
The EU Court of Justice will have to consider whether, and within what scope, selective distribution systems for luxury and prestige items that primarily ensure the “luxury image” of those goods constitute an element of competition pursuant to Article 101 par. 1 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
Louis Vuitton recently petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review a Second Circuit ruling that certain handbags are fair-use parodies of Louis Vuitton products, and therefore do not give rise to liability for trademark dilution by blurring. In its petition, Louis Vuitton contends there is a split of authority between the Second and Fourth Circuits regarding parody as a fair-use defense to dilution.
Louis Vuitton is the owner of famous trademarks “that immediately bring… to mind Louis Vuitton as the sole source of handbags and other stylish, high-quality goods bearing its marks.” My Other Bag, Inc. offers handbags with images of Louis Vuitton’s famous marks reproduced on one side, and the phrase “My other bag” inscribed on the back.